The telecommunications industry has experienced dynamic changes over the past several years, and those exciting events and developments are reflected in the chapters of this volume. The Telecommunications Policy Research Conference (TPRC) holds an unrivaled place at the center of national public policy discourse on issues in communications and information. TPRC is one of the few places where multidisciplinary discussions take place as the norm. The papers collected here represent the current state of research in telecommunication policy, and are organized around four topics: competition, regulation, universal service, and convergence.
The contentious competition issues include bundling as a strategy in software competition, combination bidding in spectrum auctions, and anticompetitive behavior in the Internet. Regulation takes up telephone number portability, decentralized regulatory decision making versus central regulatory authority, data protection, restrictions to the flow of information over the Internet, and failed Global Information Infrastructure initiatives. Universal service addresses the persistent gap in telecommunications from a socioeconomic perspective, the availability of competitive Internet access service and cost modeling. The convergence section concentrates on the costs of Internet telephony versus circuit switched telephony, the intertwined evolution of new services, new technologies, and new consumer equipment, and the politically charged question of asymmetric regulation of Internet telephony and conventional telephone service.